Notes: No lack of depth in center field
Braves have talented prospects ready to back up Kotsay
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- More than two weeks into camp, there is no apparent reason to be concerned about Mark Kotsay's health or willingness to test his back. The veteran center fielder raced into shallow center to make a sliding catch in the second inning of Sunday afternoon's 6-4 win over the Astros at Disney's Champion Stadium.
But if something were to go wrong with Kotsay, who played just 56 games after having back surgery last year, there doesn't appear to be cause for great panic. The Braves' depth at the center-field position appears deeper than some might have originally thought.
Having not even spent three weeks in his first big league camp, Jordan Schafer is already showing why he quickly became the organization's top prospect. As for Josh Anderson and Gregor Blanco, they too have made a solid impression on Braves manager Bobby Cox.
"They all three should see Major League time somewhere, if not here," Cox said.
Schafer, who has two hits in his first six spring at-bats, carries himself with a sense of confidence that doesn't cross the line into being arrogant. The 21-year-old outfielder has some coaches understanding why many believe he could be Major League-ready at some point this summer.
"He looks like a player, doesn't he?" Cox said last week.
Anderson, who has four hits, including a double, in seven Grapefruit League at-bats, has some in Braves camp wondering why the Astros were willing to trade him in exchange for Oscar Villarreal.
The speedy outfielder, who has recorded at least 40 stolen bases each of the past three seasons, had a go-ahead two-out hit in Saturday's win over the Astros and also contributed to Sunday's win over his former team with a sixth-inning double.
The Braves could choose to use Anderson instead of Brandon Jones as their fourth outfielder.
"[Anderson] can run," Cox said. "He's a great outfielder, and he's always hit in the Minors. He's an interesting kid."
Blanco is often forgotten in the mix. But during the early portion of camp, he has shown why he ranked second in the Venezuelan Winter League with a .345 batting average.
"Blanco, you don't want to overlook him," Braves first-base coach Glenn Hubbard said. "That son of a gun can play."
Francoeur update: Jeff Francoeur's representatives from Career Sports Management were flying to Orlando, Fla., on Sunday evening to discuss his contractual options. The Braves didn't unilaterally renew his contract on Sunday, and they will only do so if they can't reach an agreement on his salary for the upcoming season.
Even if the Braves were to have to renew Francoeur for a second straight season, there's still a chance they could sign him to a multi-year deal in the near future. But there is reason to believe the 24-year-old outfielder, who will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next year, will give the Braves a deadline that won't extend past March.
Resop impresses: A Dodgers scout who saw Chris Resop pitch on Thursday said he was impressed with the Braves right-hander's arm. Cox made a point to say something similar even after Resop was charged with two earned runs and three hits in two innings on Sunday.
"He's got a good arm," Cox said. "If we don't keep him, somebody is going to get a good pitcher. He just needs to pitch."
Because Resop is out of options, the Braves could lose him via the waiver wire if he doesn't make the big league club out of Spring Training. The Braves will stay patient with him because he underwent right shoulder surgery in July.
Resop, who made 22 appearances for the Marlins in 2006, is competing for one of the final spots in the bullpen with Blaine Boyer, who is also out of options. Boyer recorded two strikeouts and completed two scoreless innings in the only appearance he has made.
Braves bits: Utilityman Omar Infante will travel to Atlanta on Monday to have his broken left hand examined. There's a chance he could have his cast removed. ... Closer Rafael Soriano hasn't made his first appearance because he remains weak from the flu-related symptoms he battled earlier last week.
Up next: Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar highlight the squad the Braves will take to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to face the Mets on Monday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Jo-Jo Reyes will make his Grapefruit League season debut, while rising prospect Charlie Morton is scheduled to pitch two innings of relief. The broadcast will be shown on MLB.TV and a radio broadcast can be heard on braves.com.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.